ThrillerFest XVII • May 31 – June 4, 2022 • Register Today!

Best First Sentence Contest

Enter our free and fun Best First Sentence Contest! Each winner will receive a 10-page critique from one of the teachers from Master Class. The deadline for entries is May 1, 2022.

To enter the 2022 Best First sentence contest, please email your submissions to You may only submit one entry. To qualify for entry you must be an ITW member or registered for ThrillerFest XVII (2022). Winners will be announced on Wednesday, June 1, 2022 at the CraftFest Luncheon and on social media. All winners will be notified shortly thereafter via email.

Thanks for your entry and good luck!

2021 Best First Sentence – Judge’s Choices

The winners are in! Seven talented wordsmiths are going to win a 10-page critique with the instructor that chose their sentences. Congrats to all!

Allison Brennan:
My mom told me I could do whatever I wanted for the whole summer I was fourteen, so I decided to find the Red Rock serial killer.
–Melissa Yi

Robin Burcell:
She sat on the rocking chair with the bloody knife in her lap and listened to the chorus of frogs while she waited.
–Diane Bator

Hank Phillippi Ryan:
The first thing Laura Graves noticed when she returned home to Texas after twenty years in DC was that vultures, unlike lawyers, cared if you lived or died.
–Lisanne Davidson

Steven James:
I have never been a particularly violent man.
–Stewart Harris

J.D. Barker:
“You’re a bad person,” Grace said to me, a finger tapping against her cheek, “and this is where we find ourselves, again and again and again.”
–Patricia Galiotos

Robert Dugoni:
He told his jurors the truth, and they fell for it.
–Daniel Karon

Donald Maass:
Beast was the name her mother gave her.
–Matt Leyshon